Attorneys for four former and current Utah smokers have asked a federal judge to send the lawsuit back to 3rd District Court.

In a filing Tuesday, the attorneys say that tobacco companies' shift of the case to U.S. District Court was a frivolous delaying tactic. They asked U.S. District Judge Dee Benson to have the tobacco companies pay the cost of fighting the shift.Three Salt Lake law firms sued national cigarette manufacturers in February. The proposed class-action suit also named distributors A.W. Marshall Co. in Salt Lake City and Cuban Cigar Inc. in West Valley City.

Attorneys for the tobacco companies shifted the suit to federal court earlier this month, arguing that the two Utah outlets were added solely to keep the suit in state court.

Generally, a company sued in a state court can move a case to federal court if it is based in a different state than the plaintiff and the damages sought exceed $75,000. However, such moves usually are prohibited if the suit includes other defendants from the same state as the plaintiff.

Plaintiffs' attorneys defend their decision to file the lawsuit in state court.